Archive for December, 2011

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My Month in Films: December 2011

December 31, 2011

Rosemary's-Baby

25 films, 17 first time viewings

Best first time viewings
1. Rosemary’s Baby (Roman Polanski, 1968, USA)
2. Catch-22 (Mike Nichols, 1970, USA)
3. Bicycle Thieves (Vittorio De Sica, 1948, Italy)
4. Stage Door (Gregory La Cava, 1937, USA)
5. Deep End (Jerzy Skolimowski, 1970, UK/West Germany)
6. Let Me In (Matt Reeves, 2010, USA/UK)
7. The Adventures of Tintin: The Secret of the Unicorn (Steven Spielberg, 2011, USA/New Zealand)
8. Hugo (Martin Scorsese, 2011, USA)
9. Take Shelter (Jeff Nichols, 2011, USA)
10. Mission: Impossible – Ghost Protocol (Brad Bird, 2011, USA/United Arab Emirates/Czech Republic)

Best rewatches
Mulholland Dr. (David Lynch, 2001, USA/France)
It’s a Wonderful Life (Frank Capra, 1944, USA)
Attack the Block (Joe Cornish, 2011, UK/France)

Worst
Romantics Anonymous (Jean-Pierre Améris, 2010, France/Belgium)
We Have a Pope (Nanni Moretti, 2011, Italy/France)
The Thing (Matthijs van Heijningen Jr., 2011, USA/Canada)
Labyrinth (Jim Henson, 1986, UK/USA)

Catch-22

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The Adventures of Tintin: The Secret of the Unicorn (Steven Spielberg, 2011)

December 22, 2011

Originally written for Reel Time, now at Sound on Sight

A point of controversy regarding Spielberg’s The Adventures of Tintin is the issue of whether or not, due to its heavy motion capture leanings, one should classify it as an animated film. Regardless of my own opinions regarding the topic, I shall refer to what this film presents as animation for the sake of convenience. On a similar note, since this is an animated film, the use of phrases like “camera work” and “cinematography” seems questionable on a semantics level. Again, for the sake of convenience, I shall use such wording, as it is the film’s cinematography, combined with its editing, that provides the biggest positive impression.

The camera here flows with an unceasing, fluid grace in scenes of both creative match cuts and dissolves – deserts morphing into oceans in a diversion into a flashback, bottles in one scene becoming telescopes in a entirely new one – and enthralling “one-shot” action sequences covering a considerable amount of ground. An example of the latter is a stunning Morocco-set chase sequence that glides across a downhill town in one long, unbroken swoop, covering the exploits of several different characters, in varying means of transportation, while also giving a clear impression of the increasing destruction and imminent obstacles provided by an approaching flood. An absolutely enthralling sequence, it is highly representative of the film’s success as a stellar example of action-adventure filmmaking, and not just of animated examples. Read the rest of this entry ?

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Sherlock Holmes: A Game of Shadows (Guy Ritchie, 2011)

December 21, 2011

Review originally written for Reel Time, now at Sound on Sight

Guy Ritchie’s previous Sherlock Holmes film was marred, especially, by irritating aesthetic choices and an over-reliance on the banter between its leading men. Rather than charming, Robert Downey Jr. and Jude Law’s exchanges were instead annoyingly smug, and the film as a whole was a particularly tedious affair. Some of the problems survive the transition to this sequel, particularly in its first half. The film’s opening stretch contains some more of the dire slow motion sequences relating to Holmes plotting combat strategies, and the Holmes/Watson dynamic is initially as bothersome as before. But these aspects, and the film as a whole, slowly start to improve as the film progresses.

One major factor for this is the introduction of a sense of real physical danger for the characters in their encounters with Moriarty and his associates; to name one example, the use of Ritchie’s particular brand of slow and sped up motion is actually very effective in a woodland pursuit in which the devastating impact of a new weapon is displayed. The “combat plotting” technique also serves a single enjoyable and impactful use in the film’s climactic scenes with Moriarty. Downey and Law’s banter is similarly served well by the escalation of dread and apparent doom, though it must be noted that these cited improvements don’t really occur until roughly an hour in during a welcome move, on a visual level, to various parts of mainland Europe. Read the rest of this entry ?

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Updates.

December 14, 2011

You can now find a slightly different version of my Wuthering Heights write-up at the website for the Reel Time podcast: http://reeltimepodcast.org/2011/12/13/review-wuthering-heights-andrea-arnold-2011/

Regarding further pieces for other sources, you can find articles of mine in the last two issues of the Glasgow University Guardian.

– An article on era-specific remakes and reboots of 2011 on page 21 of Issue 3: http://glasgowguardian.co.uk/featured/2011-11-16/

– An article on recent censorship and certification issues (featuring Shame, Blue Valentine and The Human Centipede 2) on page 16 of Issue 4: http://glasgowguardian.co.uk/featured/2011-12-10/

Apologies for the lack of updates in the last few weeks. I intend to catch up.